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What are calories?

Updated: Aug 9, 2022

Whatever your reasons for wanting to lose weight, one overwhelming reason may be that it will improve your health and decrease the risk of developing a wide range of diseases.

In short, it will give you a healthier lifestyle.

So, think about the following:

• Are you nibbling on sugary snacks?

• Are you skipping meals?

• What about alcohol?

• Are you adding sugar to your drinks?

• Are you having breakfast?

Most seasoned dieters will know that calories are the enemy’s front line troops.

So what exactly is a calorie?

It is not a protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamin or mineral. It is simply a measurement. We use it to recognise those foods that contain energy. But it is easy to consume foods whose calories are so called empty calories, such as chocolate bars. These types of food don't contain nutrient rich calories, and so do not supply us with the goodness our bodies require.

We should use our calorie knowledge to help us to choose foods that are essential to a healthy lifestyle i.e. foods that provide us with protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre. We should avoid foods that are high in fat or sugar content and therefore also high in calories.

So, we should attempt to reduce our calorie intake by trying to follow these simple rules:

1. Reduce the amount of fat we are taking in

This can be done in the following ways:

• grill instead of fry

• use skimmed milk instead of full fat milk

• be aware of hidden sources of fat e.g.. pies, pastry etc.

• remove all visible fat/skin from meat and poultry

• try to use low fat cheese and spreads

• eat less beef, lamb and pork which are higher in fat

2. Reduce the amount of sugar we consume

About half the amount of sugar we take in is bought in bags and added to our food and drink. The rest is put into our food by manufacturers. So look out for other words for sugar, which are :

• glucose

• glucose syrup

• dextrose

• fructose

• galactose

• sucrose

• invert sugar

• maltodextrin

As well as reducing our calorie intake in the ways mentioned above, we should also aim to increase the amount of fibre we are taking in.

This can be done in the following ways :

• choose wholemeal breads and pasta

• choose whole fibre cereals e.g..weetabix, porridge, muesli

• eat more pulses e.g.. beans and lentils

• eat more fresh fruit and vegetables

There is much more to food than just its calorie content.

We require a well balanced and broad range of foods to maintain energy, interest and, above all, health.

If you would like more help with working on healthier habits to lose weight, have more energy and feel happier and confident in yourself, book a free consultation in with me by clicking here.

To health & happiness 💚

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